Midi monitoring conundrum...

For the purpose of avoiding all midi latency at the time of recording midi piano parts, I’ve taken to monitoring my Nord piano ‘locally’ while playing the parts into Cubase. But this creates a problem of sorts - what I’m playing in will also be sent from Cubase back to the Nord, so then I have two of every note on the Nord (the local part plus that part being sent from Cubase)

I’ve got around this to date by switching the midi receive channel of the Nord to an unused midi channel whenever I’m playing a part into Cubase. But that’s not ideal. It means I can’t do quick, on the fly, drop ins and outs (as I can’t then hear what’s ALREADY been recorded).

I really DON’T want to turn the local off on the Nord and monitor what I’m playing in the ‘usual’ way - the extra few milliseconds imposed by going through the midi interface etc. is an age to my nervous system and affects my performance significantly.

So… is there some clever way to set things up so that whatever I’m playing into Cubase is not sent back to the Nord but whatever is already on the track I’m adding to IS sent to the Nord?

Of course, I could just record onto a different track whenever I wanted to add anything to an existing part, and have that new track temporarily set to send on a different channel from that which the Nord is receiving. But that’s all extra keystrokes and involves a bit of left brain, which I wish to avoid.

Really, I’m trying here to replicate the SO easy, quick and thoughtless (in the best way) drop in and out experience I used to have in the days of tape.

Sure, just use the Nord and record it on a midi track with the output of the track set to none and the input set to the Nord.

I monitor through my DAW and can’t tell the difference, with audio and midi.

Like they say, a nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse.

Thanks for the reply.

I’m trying to drop in and out instantly on the fly, without having to create a separate track etc. or “plan” the drop in/out in any way. I kinda alluded to what you suggested in my original post and I guess I could (reluctantly!) drag the ‘new’ Nord part (the drop in) into the ‘main’ Nord track (which WILL always be sending to the NORD) once done, but it’s all extra mouse movements, which I’m trying to avoid. I was hoping there might be some very clever way Cubase could not pass through what I’m playing at the time I’m playing it, while still sending everything else on that track. I understand that’s not the way DAWs are usually setup etc. but I’m looking for ways to clear away anything that inhibits my ‘flow’ (man!).

Just to digress a little, in terms of inspiration and ‘flow’ my best work occured back in the day when I just used a portastudio!!! Everything was so immediate! There seems no way of fully replicating that quick, non cerebral process with a DAW, but I’m trying to get as close as I can!

In all sincerity, I rather envy those who are not bothered by a few milliseconds midi delay when playing. My nervous system really complains under such circumstances and my playing suffers enormously. There are some keyboards I will not play at all (ie. ‘locally’) for that reason, actually (eg. Yamaha Montage, some of the Roland RD pianos…)

I’ve seen some keyboards that have more latency than my setup when they play live.

I run at 4ms. This is audio latency, not midi latency. My interface can do zero latency, which is just using the interface like a mixer and sending the input right to the output as well as into the track. I don’t use it though, prefer to go through the DAW and use fx inserts on the track.

The new thunderbolt interfaces are supposed to get really down there. I thought about it but you can’t just add a thunderbolt card to a computer like you can with firewire, you have to build a computer from scratch. Not time for new computer right now.

You can get what you want if you keep at it.

Good Luck!

Saw an interesting post:

Re: Acoustic piano latency

Well, considering the speed of sound at ~ 340 meters/second the delay is about 3 ms when sitting at a grand piano (1 meter to the strings). This is very comparable to the audio equipment used today (if you use headphones).

Also, a lot of the sound you hear when you play in a regular room have been reflected by a wall at least once. Sounds that have travelled 5 meters back and forth (~ 30 feet) have been delayed by 29 ms.

I guess people have different sensibility, but the only times I’ve experienced that I have latency AT ALL since I got my GSIF/ASIO card a couple of years ago, are when I play samples that haven’t been trimmed down enough in the beginning, i.e. have a couple of milliseconds of silence before the actual SOUND starts.

Trivia is that in the nerves of your body, nerve signals travel with 120 m/s. So there’s a delay of 4 ms from the time you KNOW you want to press that key to the time your finger at the end of your arm also knows about it.

There’s also a 4 ms delay from the time your finger feels the bottoming out the key until your brain knows it it, and also starts believing it. So if the sound gets to your ears in 3 ms, but the sensation of a pressed key takes 4 ms, the sound actually arrives before you’ve pressed the key?

BUT! Luckily, if you have a big head, there’s a delay of 1.5 ms from the time the sound hits the ear to the time your brain gets the message.

Also if you LOOK at the key while you play it, you’ll know you’ve pressed the key almost instantly with the speed of light, so you’ll reduce your latency by 4 ms by looking at your keyboard when playing it.

Confusing, yes, but the point is also that you aren’t aware of all these latencies in your body, because the brain compensates for it. Your brain learned to deal with it. You have the sensation of no latency in your life in general, AND when playing your acoustic grand because you’ve always believed that everything you do is instant. Trying to get less than 5 ms latency out of your computer is virtually useless if you’re further than a feet from the speaker.

But you know if you want to go really low latency hardcore, play your acoustic piano with your forehead, and feel the sound from the vibrations of your head on the keyboard.